Here’s the thing about kosher restaurants in New York: given the high demand for them and the pretty solid return customer rate, diners are usually asked to compromise one aspect of the eating-out experience for another. However, there are some worthy exceptions out there. We live in a city, after all, home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel. Which is all to say: when a kosher restaurant is good here… it is really good.
The 19 spots on this guide run the gamut from excellent pizzerias to palaces of meat that transcend their kosherness - and even appeal to non-Jewish diners. A note before we proceed: lest you find yourself searching for the best kosher cheeseburger in town, think again. Jewish dietary laws prohibit the cooking and consumption of dairy and meat products simultaneously, which is why some of our choices feature dairy-only menus and others are heavy on meat.
A New York stalwart for well over 30 years, Colbeh’s claim to fame goes beyond their excellent kosher menu - this place also makes some of the best Persian food in the city. With two other locations on Long Island - one in Great Neck and the other in Roslyn - Colbeh caters to the large Iranian population that calls New York home and has landed itself a slew of other fans that crave the tender, juicy kabobs (get a king combination to try a variety of them) and the extraordinary tahdig. Make sure to slather the latter in either ghormeh sabzi (an herbed stew) or khoresh lapeh (a red split pea stew).
Georgians of Jewish and non-Jewish descent gather at this casual empire of meat in Queens, the first very kosher Georgian restaurant in New York. Start off the parade of food with the national bread, the canoe-shaped shotis puri, which pairs really well with the fresh Georgian salad. The simple combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions always makes us re-evaluate our usual salad requests. Move on to the potatoes with mushrooms appetizer and an order of khinkali - Georgian-style dumplings made with beef, lamb, and herbs. Finish off with all sorts of kebabs straight from the grill: they have everything from chicken breast options and the classic ground beef and lamb to a salmon kebab. You’ll also notice a ton of eclectic Georgian sodas on the menu, like the Zendkeli, but before you order one, keep in mind that they are all way sweeter than you probably imagine.
Arguments about the best pizza in New York have seemingly always existed, and conversations about the very best kosher pizza in New York are no less intense. As an almost universally acknowledged truth, Abaita has been at the top of that list since it first opened back in 2018. Co-owners and chefs David Egidio Donagrandiad and Sruli Subar clearly know what they’re doing - the latter was born and raised in Northern Italy, honing his skills in Miami, Lake Como, San Francisco, and beyond. The modern and intimate design of the restaurant is a bit at odds with what a lot of strictly kosher diners are used to, which adds bonus points to the whole experience. Start off with the pizza margherita (probably the best thing on the menu) and then try a few of the pastas. The classic spaghetti always delivers, as does the rigatoni with tomato confit, Calabrian chili, and parmigiano.
It’s hard to find properly made kosher Israeli food in New York. But with the exception of a few avoidable menu items, Alenbi does it very well. The chic space with large windows is home to a spacious table perfect for big groups and a few smaller ones. And while short, the menu is clearly thoroughly thought-out: the kruvit (wood-oven charred cauliflower) is perfect, as is the eggplant baladi - a flavorful blending with raw tahini, lemon, garlic, tomato, black eggplant cream, gremolata, harissa, and Amba sauce that you’ll want to keep dunking your bread in. But the pita sandwich section is where Chef Elior Balbul really shines. They are all absolutely delicious - from the classic fried schnitzel to a taleh version (pulled lamb, hummus, mint salta, braised carrots, and fennel slaw) and the scalopinit sandwich (tender beef filet, pickled peppers, roasted almonds, parsley, green beans, broccolini, spinach, olives, and scallions). The two-item dessert menu makes it easy to try both, but since the restaurant is meat-focused, just remember that all the after-dinner treats are made with mock dairy.
Taam Tov is located on the third floor of an anonymous-looking building right in the middle of the diamond district on 47th street. Ideal for a quick but hearty lunch, this place is best known for its homemade fluffy and soft Uzbek bread, lepeshka. If you want to stay light, grab a shurpa beef soup, some classic borsch, or opt for the perfectly-dressed salad Taam-Tov. But if you’re going all out, try the house specialties like the chicken stroganoff or the various lamb chops. Also, keep in mind that this place closes at 8pm, so plan accordingly.
This steakhouse in Park Slope has one of the prettiest outdoor seating areas among all the kosher restaurants in the city. Set up in a renovated 1920s warehouse, the space is made from the original Prohibition-era building materials, and that attention to detail also carries over to the menu - which, as the name of the restaurant suggests, is heavy on the bison. You’ll obviously want to try a steak here, there are seven different cuts on the menu, but the roster of appetizers is equally excellent with everything from smoked pastrami to prime rib risotto and smoked maple-glazed beef bacon.
There simply just aren’t that many kosher smokehouses out there, but that’s not why we like Izzy’s so much - the Crown Heights spot is actually superb. The barbecue comes from pitmaster Izzy Eidelman, and everything on the menu is worth trying, starting with the sandwiches. The loaded chili sausage is served with a house-made sauce and coleslaw, and the smoked fried chicken sandwich is prepared on toasted brioche with horseradish mayo and pickles. The meats also include brisket that’s been smoked for 18 hours and classic burnt ends that are twice drenched in the barbecue sauce. And good news if you live in Manhattan: Izzy’s just announced the opening of a new smokehouse on the Upper West Side as well.
Located near the Theater District, this French steakhouse, which opened in the late ’90s, is one of the most recognized kosher restaurants in New York. Le Marais, which translates to “marsh” or “swamp” in French, is a neighborhood in Paris by the Seine River that is home to a big Jewish community and a slew of artists. Artistry is, after all, necessary in the concoction of a French steakhouse menu that has to stay away from dairy products, pork, and shellfish. But you can still expect all the classics here, from coq au vin to a black pepper-crusted steak au poivre and a pretty good pan-roasted salmon. The ambiance is as steakhouse-y as it gets: think deep-colored woods, white linen cloths, and a truly exceptional staff.
A cool burger place in Hasidic Brooklyn (Crown Heights, to be specific), also serving a variety of craft beers? Sign me up. All the burgers cooked at this super casual spot are excellent and well thought out. Their classic burger is always good (lettuce, tomato, pickles, sauteed maple onions, and just the right amount of ketchup and mustard), but I like to go with the Bondi, an Australian burger topped with sweet pickled beets and grilled pineapple atop the patty. And if you’re in the mood for something a little lighter, the Veg Out burger is a permanent menu fixture, topped with the same beets, lettuce, tomato, alfalfa sprouts, cilantro, and truffle aioli. In case you feel like a drink or something sweet, they also have 10 craft beers to choose from and churro bowls for dessert.
Even though the word “hummus” is in the name of this Kips Bay restaurant, there are really seven or eight different things that we’d recommend ordering here. You know, along with plenty of hummus (make sure you include the original chickpea one in your order). Shawarma wraps, falafel, babaganoush, stuffed grape leaves, shakshuka, Moroccan fish dishes, and a range of meat options are all must-tries. Which is all to say: you’re going to have to come back here time and time again to truly experience this place.
There are a ton of Indian spots along the stretch of Lexington Ave that extends from the high 20s to the low 30s, including the majority of the city’s kosher Indian options. Pongal - named after a popular harvest festival in South India and a sweet rice dish - stands apart from the rest with exceptional service and its overall affordability. The menu here is seemingly endless, but in an effort to try as many dishes as possible, get a couple of combination platters for the table. Each one includes rice, bread, samosas, yogurts, curries, and sweet chutneys that will help with some of the spicier dishes. You’ve got two things to order outside of those combinations: the mixed vegetable utthapam (a rice and lentil pancake) and a mango lassi, which is a refreshing way to wash everything down.
Most kosher restaurants in Manhattan are found in Midtown or Uptown, but Mocha Burger took a chance opening in SoHo and it’s worked out pretty well (they’ve since opened a Mocha Express location on the Upper East Side, near Second Avenue and 83rd Street). Order a nice bottle of red to pair with the BLT burger - served with a fried egg on top - or the Funghi (topped with caramelized wild mushrooms and golden crisp fried onions). They also have a meatless veggie patty and an impossible burger on the menu, but if you’re just trying to stay away from red meat, we suggest the salmon satay skewers or the tostado salad instead. Don’t skip the battered Cajun fries either.
Rothschild TLV opened in the middle of the pandemic in May 2020, but has still found a way to succeed during these uncertain times. The upscale Israeli menu includes standouts likes black risotto (forbidden rice, wild mushrooms, truffles, corn cream, and short rib), a sweetbreads flatbread featuring preserved lemon, babaganoush, and a spicy green herb salad, and a $245 45oz Tomahawk that’s dry-aged and served with fingerling potatoes and salad. However, if that last option is a bit much, go for the $56 lamb shank instead, or split the $125 30oz prime dry-aged steak served on the bone.
All dishes here are vegetarian, but unlike Pongal, the menu features both North Indian and South Indian curries. We usually like to order a few combinations from each side of the country, plus some breads like the stuffed paratha (which you can fill with your choice of onion, potato, or paneer). Bonus points: the restaurant’s location, relatively close to Alphabet City, makes this place a standout in kosher circles used to mingling in Midtown.
Everybody loves Hapisgah. A safe bet for families, dates, and just about anyone else, the spacious steakhouse in Flushing is the perfect example of what a lot of kosher restaurants do: try to tackle multiple cuisines at once. In fact, this place doesn’t only serve great chicken and beef dishes, but carries along with it a mixture of Asian and Italian options as well. However, don’t let the latter distract you from the delicious Persian chicken shish kebab (served with rice, tomato, and onion), the sizzling pepper steak, a 20oz New York rub steak, or the mixed chicken with mushrooms and onions that literally smokes as it comes to the table.
Reserve Cut is the high-end steakhouse where you take your in-laws or celebrate a monumental anniversary. The space, located inside the Setai Wall Street, is unsurprisingly beautiful, and the menu - albeit expectantly pricey - includes all the usual suspects, from chicken salads and steaks to burgers and well-prepared fish. But we also suggest ordering a couple of sushi rolls. Given the lack of very good kosher sushi around town, you might as well add some signature rolls or sashimi and nigiri to your order. The Broad Street (spicy tuna, tempura crunch, seared tuna, mayo, and masago) and grilled Chilean sea bass with crispy cucumber, avocado, and teriyaki are both great choices.
Not an obvious pick, Barnea is a quiet bistro in Midtown that’s a bit more subdued than many of the other places on this guide. The menu is fairly limited in comparison to similar spots, but that’s fine because everything on it is delicious. Arguably serving the best kosher steak in New York, the restaurant also takes a chance with some interesting appetizers, like the beef carpaccio and beef tartare (not usually found on kosher menus), the lamb riblets, the polenta fries made with truffle honey, and the salad Lyonnaise - which features a soft poached egg, lamb bacon, walnuts, mustard vinaigrette, farro, and pickled onion. The elegant space is beautiful and the service is truly top-notch, which is saying a lot when it comes to kosher restaurants.
This Crown Heights spot takes its pizza and wine very seriously, and you should as well. One of few kosher restaurants with a truly remarkable wine menu, Basil gets everything right - from presentation and quality ingredients to the decor and service. We won’t dive too deeply into the menu (if you can, order every single one of the pizzas and a few bottles of wine to go with them), but instead, focus on the cultural experiment that the restaurant is. As Frank Bruni wrote in The New York Times when the pizzeria opened in 2010, “[Basil is] a cross-cultural experiment, trying to promote better integration of, and communication between, groups in Crown Heights that haven’t always mingled much or seen eye to eye.” In fact, the restaurant isn’t located on the traditionally “Jewish” side of Eastern Parkway, but instead on the West Indian side. The experiment has clearly worked for over a decade, and here’s to hoping it keeps going strong.
If it’s fish that you’re after, Turquoise is the spot for you. Simply prepared, the seafood here is always fresh and never too heavily dressed with any unnecessary sauces. We’re partial to the simpler options on the menu, like the broiled flounder with olive oil and lemon and the grilled salmon, along with the slew of great appetizers. Those include the homemade tzatziki, a whole fire-roasted eggplant with tahini, thick zucchini chips, and a halloumi flambée. One more thing: order the dairy desserts (Our favorite? The homemade biscuit cake).